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FILE: Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu attends the closing meeting of the New Global Financial Convention Summit in Paris, France, on June 23, 2023. /CFP

Nigerian president vows no ransom for return of abducted schoolchildren, women

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Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has taken a firm stance against paying ransom for the release of recently abducted schoolchildren and women, according to an official announcement Wednesday.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris relayed the president’s directive while speaking to the media in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, emphasizing the need for a unified effort among security agencies to rescue the victims.

The minister underscored the government’s commitment to exploring options with international partners while refusing to negotiate with criminal gangs.

Gunmen abducted at least 287 students in an assault on schools Thursday in the northwestern state of Kaduna, prompting security forces to launch a search and rescue operation. This followed an earlier abduction of women in the northeastern state of Borno in late February. Both incidents have sparked nationwide concerns.

Security forces have launched search and rescue operations in response to these assaults, with assurances from Idris that efforts are underway to ensure the safe return of the victims.

The Kaduna incident, which followed an armed intrusion into the state’s Kuriga town by a gang of gunmen, is said to be one of the largest mass abductions from a Nigerian school in recent years.

While no specific armed group has claimed responsibility for this latest incident, it echoes a similar mass kidnapping that occurred about a decade ago in April 2014. Back then, more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted from their dormitories in the northeastern state of Borno by the Boko Haram terror group.

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